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What to do with old bicycle chain

Old 06-14-22, 06:33 PM
  #1  
raybo
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What to do with old bicycle chain?

I just replaced my bike's chain and wonder if the old one can be recycled in any way?

I'm not into bicycle chain crafts, so I won't be making a belt or lamp out of it. Besides, it is quite greasy and I'd prefer not to clean it, if I don't have to.

I checked the local recycling company and its website says nothing about bike chains. Before I chuck it into the landfill, I wanted to ask if there is a place to recycle bike chains that you know of?
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Old 06-14-22, 07:30 PM
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I volunteer at a big city high volume bike Co-op. Our mission is to recycle, reuse and provide low-cost bike solutions for the community.

Please do NOT donate your worn and/or mangled chain to your local Co-op. We'll just inherent a greasy mess that will take time to check for stretch and then quickly discard. Then as sure as the world turns, someone will fish it out of our metal recycling and try and fit it on a bike and suffer all kinds of skipping and accelerated drivetrain wear. They will then come back to our mechanics for a solution to their problems, wasting more of our time. Or even better, say that they'd brought if from us, and it was defective so want a refund or replacement.

The optimum societal solution is to discard deep into steel recycling, and then lock it.
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Old 06-14-22, 07:54 PM
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Some people use old chains to lock the saddle to the frame, with a rubber tube covering much of the length. Perhaps it would be valuable to the Co-op if it were labeled to only use to secure a saddle.
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Old 06-14-22, 07:57 PM
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I give um to a friend of mine who uses them for forging Demascus blades. He is always interested in good steel...
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Old 06-14-22, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Trueblood View Post
Some people use old chains to lock the saddle to the frame, with a rubber tube covering much of the length. Perhaps it would be valuable to the Co-op if it were labeled to only use to secure a saddle.
No, they don't need that, they can get plenty of old chains for that. That is not going to be a problem for them. Donating useful stuff is good but donating trash for them to throw away isn't so helpful.

Without cleaning it, it probably would just go to trash maybe with some cleaning you could recycle it somewhere but I would think they wouldn't take it super nasty like that.
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Old 06-14-22, 10:16 PM
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I am surprised that San Fran does not have organized metal recycling. A chain would be considered for steel recycling
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Old 06-15-22, 07:13 AM
  #7  
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I put my chains in a baggie and put in the recycle bin. I assume that a baggie over a greasy rusty chain is recyclable, as I assume they pull steel out of the pile with big magnets. I have not checked with the recycle center.

A long chain that can tangle up on other stuff could be a hassle for the sorters at recycle centers, a baggie prevents that.

I once saw a photo of someone using an old bike chain to make boot cleats for hiking on ice, I tried it and it was a dismal failure. Don't bother trying it, the lack of sharp points prevented it from digging into the ice.

ADDENDUM:

Found the photo:


Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 06-16-22 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 06-15-22, 07:31 AM
  #8  
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I read somewhere that acid-loving plants (think azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias, and blueberries) often need a trace of iron. Since I had cleaned one chain before I measured it, and it was too long, I left it hanging outside for a few months. OK, then I had a rusty chain and was getting a couple blueberry bushes. Planted the chain a couple inches under one blueberry. I don't know if it helped the bush, but that one thrived while the other bush eventually died, and the berries taste fine!
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Old 06-15-22, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I once saw a photo of someone using an old bike chain to make boot cleats for hiking on ice, I tried it and it was a dismal failure. Don't bother trying it, the lack of sharp points prevented it from digging into the ice.
I bet chainsaw chain would grip well

Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I read somewhere that acid-loving plants (think azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias, and blueberries) often need a trace of iron. Since I had cleaned one chain before I measured it, and it was too long, I left it hanging outside for a few months. OK, then I had a rusty chain and was getting a couple blueberry bushes. Planted the chain a couple inches under one blueberry. I don't know if it helped the bush, but that one thrived while the other bush eventually died, and the berries taste fine!
I may have to try some iron around my blueberry bushes. Not sure about using a bike chain given that I don't know what is in the lube. Rusty nails or something might be a safer bet.
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Old 06-15-22, 10:30 AM
  #10  
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Kids in my old neighborhood threw them over power lines.
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Old 06-15-22, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I am surprised that San Fran does not have organized metal recycling. A chain would be considered for steel recycling
I agree with Marcus above. At my town transfer station a bike chain would go right in with other metal recyclables. Our dump has a container for small nutsy boltsy metal items that would be too small to move again with a bucket loader. I'd put the chain there.

A plastic bag would pollute the metals. We would recycle that separately at the local supermarket or put it in the landfill container at the dump.
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Old 06-17-22, 09:22 PM
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i keep a bucket in my shop and all chains and metal parts go into it and i dump it in the recycle bin at a local charity.
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Old 06-18-22, 11:06 AM
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I dump mine in the bin in back of the nearest bike shop.
City of Calgary has no provision for recycling metal other than cans and alu pans and plates.
The dump will charge you a minimum fee. None of the industrial metal recyclers have bins that are accessible to the public.
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Old 06-18-22, 12:31 PM
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Trash bin.
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Old 06-18-22, 01:10 PM
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I'm pretty sure you could clean em up, post them online and sell them as "vintage" components.
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Old 06-18-22, 01:16 PM
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I have a metal recycling facility just down the street from me. I take all kinds of metals, including old bike parts there, because the curb-side recycling will only take metal cans and such, not metals in other forms.



.
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Old 06-18-22, 06:45 PM
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There are many useful tools that can be made from bicycle chain. Pipe wrenches, oil filter wrench, pipe vice, clamps, the list goes on and on… but yes I just hold onto mine until I have enough scrap to take down to the recycle yard and get paid for it.
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Old 06-20-22, 08:45 AM
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chain whip
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Old 06-22-22, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeLite View Post
chain whip
Yeah, I'd make some if I didn't have some that my dad made 50 or so years ago. It is a nice project for anyone who needs some chain whips. I'd probably make some nicer ones, but the ones my dad made have sentimental value and they still work fine.
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Old 06-25-22, 07:20 AM
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In the metal recycling bin along with any other steel or aluminum waste. Well except the aluminum cans. They go in with the recycling. Or a friends pickup bed with the massive amount he recycles for $.
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Old 07-04-22, 05:46 PM
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Clean it up real good and keep it handy for the next dog that does not know when to stop.
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